As Aluminium Suppliers, now and again we like to focus hard on the magical metal we supply so much of, the amazing lightweight, non-rusting material that can be used for such an extraordinary range of purposes, products and projects. Here’s what’s been going on recently in the wonderful world of aluminium.
Norsk Hydro cyber attack drives aluminium price hike
Our industry is just as vulnerable to cyber attacks as any other sector, something illustrated by a recent cyber attack on Norsk Hydro, which forced aluminium to a three month price peak in March. Apparently the hackers’ activities caused the giant smelters to switch to manual, and also made some extrusion plants close down altogether.
Aluminium prices rocketed following an announcement by Hydro that most of the IT systems running its activities were affected. Because aluminium has the biggest short position of all metals, it looks like ‘short covering’ was the culprit, in other words the buying in of a commodity that’s been sold short, usually to avoid a loss when prices go back up.
As reported by the BBC, the cyber-attack cost the company an eye-watering ‘preliminary’ minimum of 300 million Norwegian kroner, £25.6m.
Jaguar Land Rover’s aluminium recycling plans
Jaguar Land Rover Limited has taken the next step in an impressive aluminium closed-loop programme they’ve been working on since 2013, where they retrieve the metal from old vehicles to use in alloys for new vehicles. The project is called ‘REALITY, currently being developed, and right now they’re doing initial testing on Jaguar I-PACE prototypes with no batteries. The aluminium is removed from the scrap before being re-melted into a useful alloy, which has been tested and found to be remarkably good by scientists at Brunel University.
It matters because over a million cars are destroyed every year in Britain, and so far very little of the aluminium involved has been given a second life. At the same time aluminium is valuable, a core member of the vehicle manufacturing process. So far Jaguar Land Rover has reused about 300,000 metric tons of it, and has harnessed the recovered metal across every vehicle model they make.
Has the Star Trek dream of ‘transparent aluminium’ come true?
According to The Engineer magazine, a team of clever folk at Warwick University have transformed polythene into something they’re calling ‘transparent aluminium’. What’s going on? Sadly it isn’t really a transparent metal. It actually looks like a brand new processing technique can make transparent polythene as strong as aluminium, something that has serious implications for industry.
In Star Trek 4 the engineer Montgomery Scott taught a metals supplier how to make transparent aluminium to craft vast tanks designed to carry a couple of humpback whales in the starship’s hold. Transparent aluminium remains wholly fictional, despite the discovery of transparent aluminium-based ceramics. But this cool substance has more tensile strength than aluminium and could eventually be used anywhere that impact resistant transparency is a must.
Aluminium dumping scandal affects India
India is making investigations into dumped aluminium imports by China, Vietnam, and South Korea after a domestic producer made a complaint. It looks a lot like producers from the countries were busy dumping aluminium and zinc-coated flat products between October 2017 and September 2018. The complainant, JSW Steel Coated Products, also wants a new anti-dumping duty put in place on flat-rolled steel products plated with aluminium or zinc. Apparently the investigators already have ‘sufficient evidence’ of dumping, and want to ‘determine the existence, degree and effect of alleged dumping and to recommend the amount of antidumping duty, which if levied, would be adequate to remove the injury to the domestic industry.’
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It’s a crazy world out there. But you can reply on us to source, stock and provide the best metals at the best prices, every time.
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